Citing success in China, Dr Mahathir wants unapproved Covid-19 vaccine approved for Langkawi residents

A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a frontliner at the UiTM Private Specialist Centre in Sungai Buloh March 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a frontliner at the UiTM Private Specialist Centre in Sungai Buloh March 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he has been offered an unapproved Covid-19 vaccine for 70,000 Langkawi residents in order to help the struggling tourist island.

Without naming the source or the name of the vaccine, he claimed the plan will reduce the number of cases in Langkawi as well as help the residents who are struggling after tourism dried up during the pandemic.

“We hope the government will give us the approval, we were told the vaccine was used in China where 170 million has been given the dose.

“The vaccine is also effective against the normal and Delta variant of Covid-19,” he told an online press conference.

When asked if the vaccine is Sinovac, Dr Mahathir did not answer, merely saying that the vaccine is still unapproved in Malaysia.

He then suggested speedy approval, claiming clinical trials will take too long.

“I was told this vaccine is capable of immunising against the Covid-19 Delta variant. So it is specific and has already been used in China but in Malaysia it has not yet been approved. If you want to do research, it takes a lot of time.

“We don’t have much time so we hope the authorities approve this vaccine,” he said.

Currently, the only vaccines approved by authorities in Malaysia are those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNtech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinovac, CanSino and Johnson & Johnson with the last two still undeployed.

Other vaccines pending approval are those by Novavex, Calameya, Sinopharm, Moderna and Anhui-Zhefei.

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